Has his old town changed since the last days of the 70′s and early days of 1980. Phil Lynott the Black Pearl of a rock and roll city might not recognise our place, maybe more startling would be that if he was still with us would we recognise him. Imagine Bartley Dunnes is long gone but there are dark streets offside to escape to, pokey corners and old man bars to hide in, would he go there in a thin moustache and a ponytail, hide behind small shades and pass off affections of older girls who fancied him rotten hooked on X factor porno. He slowly got off the bad stuff ages ago but still thin lizzy he has his hair cropped with a catstail at the back, he keeps to himself and yet if you take your time he’ll show you his notebooks and the words he’s using now. “What about the new bands now Phil?” – I can just see him pulling on a rollie and thinking through the smoke (he’s allowed to smoke indoors because he’s Phil Lynott and that’s a free pass for whiskey coffee and the odd drag) “Its all a bit techno he says – very machiney, but I like that Richie Jape fella he’s a bit rock n roll still”
He’s got the Bob Geldof retired footballer kind of look he’s driving a Triumph or a Citreon.
Out the door of a smoke shop I thought it was him drifting in for a pack of marlboro lights, a big black coat with his collars up he sits down outside Simons and the rain comes down, he has a denim wrangler on underneath and leather trousers don’t suit anyone except him, somehow he goes unnoticed on George’s street – its like that in Dublin now you would care less seeing Bono have cake in Coppinger row would’nt you? So what Phil Lynotts having milky tea outside Simons!
“Phil?” looking up he’s a little grumpy “What?” – “I don’t mean to annoy you but did you not think at the height of it all it would have been better to go out in style like Hendrix or Morrison and Joplin?” he’s staring at me like I have two heads “That’s kinda what actually happened but then somehow I’m still here amid all you flutes casting dispersions” he takes a sup of his tea and I try again “But all icons of rock n’ roll fade away right?” – “Yes of course I may have gone up the stairway but I’m here and there on the streets making sure the town doesn’t go completely mad, although I’d never stand that Fender on its arse, who said that was ok?” he’s getting angry now like if I talk anymore someone else will come over and take a pop at him but he goes on “Don’t get me wrong I love this town but things have changed haven’t they? Like we all went to Spain and came back with Spanish accents lookin for sandwiches and olive oil on them what’s wrong with tea and toast in Grogans, eh….pen and paper or I’d rather speak to you on the phone?” I see what he’s talking about, he’s out of the loop a bit, he just became a memory of the city and less it’s hero we turn to “are you still writing Phil?” he drifts off pulling on the last of that cigarette “yes I am but no-one wants songs about thunder in the mountains and poetry,that’s like being a weird uncle”
There’s the distance between how naive we were and now the saturation of a music generation that doesn’t love music but consumes it, then some will say that music has saved their lives but I don’t believe anyone on TV.
Phil would have sadly drifted across our media like a grumpy old Morrissey but at the same time would have probably been right, made sense. He is a hero for ever more and his imprint left a mark that helped our identity and much like Rory Gallagher or Luke Kelly gave us Irish the permission to be more reckless and legendary, don’t forget we’re still looking for the way forward even though thousands of years of music go by and even though he’s gone and distant we could still do with his view of the world no matter what he would have ended up like. Nothing wrong with straight talk and a bit of madness thrown in, sounds like Geldof actually
Nothing so sad as lost kids gloves, photographs that have people’s faces cut out of them or a pair of shoes left on the side of the road. Who said that you can tell a great deal about a person by just looking at their shoes? I thought the absolute worst when I saw these.
I do feel sorry for her in a way, I do go about my business more or less paying no attention to her in the corner like a holographic projection slowly but surely cleaning her china, enacting her process of tea making imagining that she’s at home in Kyoto making the day special for a non existent master, doing her duty.
At night she lays asleep talking lightly in Japanese having a mixture of dreams and nightmares. She rustles around disturbed by the moonlit windows and the police sirens that mill the streets. She’s not in Japan, she’s like a ghost from Japan but stuck here in a far off city not used to seeing Geisha wander make that tea and sleep with a smile.
She turned up like a flash memory, a miracle that I’ve tried to communicate with but she’s blank, a re-run of a life long dead long gone since 1890, if you take time and be quiet you can just hear outside the trees of her garden full wind bend the bows and the pick of a string instrument, meditating and lush till the rain and snow fall and the day is over.
To be honest I’d watch the games on TV and with a tinge of jealousy want to be there but only if they did well. Like watching Ireland get hammered by Switzerland I’d tend to hide behind the couch and cover my eyes. Then like the Dublin team itself things changed over the years when I began to miss my dad more and more the older I got, the more I remembered and like yesterday the days he would bring me to the canal end of the old stadium and prop me on the bar, still in my memory are sundays in 83 when my teacher John Caffrey [Who handed me the trophy in school and said 'Can you mind that for me'] and Barney Rock hit hard at the Meath and Galway midfield that season. What about those Ciaran Duff jokes? The dirty Meathmen and how I can’t have a Mars bar, an apple and a can of Fanta one after the other without physically welling up.
Those days are gone like the vast majority of memories of dad and his swagger about the place, so only recently and with immense thanks to my cousin Glen Kelly and yours truly we started talking online about going to the matches for this years season. I thought it would be a great chance to meet up again with my dads brother and his sons, have a drink and at least see some games. I didn’t bank on high emotions, I didn’t think I’d experience near levitation and loss of voice, I didn’t think I’d care as much as I did, lose my mind and be very lucky to see a world again I’d forgotten was there. The blinding language, the singing at the height of it, flares, flags, tattoos saying ‘Made in Dublin’ Poor Pascal, the sun slashing through the clouds after the rain over the Cusack stand bringing much needed light to possibly a dark situation. The return of a Dublin team we still now celebrate long after a handsome victory. Little did I know that apathy would disappear as the crowd rose up again and I wouldn’t move an inch. I was possibly the only man not moving, struck dumb in the middle of Dineen Hill 16 soaking it all up, holding back the years and trying to stay calm. I couldn’t believe it before, but this was pure savage in the state of unreason.
Immense the shift from frustration to pure elation when a breaking ball went down the side and across the grass, McManamon firing straight ball terror into the right corner, I thought of Paddy Cullen watching somewhere punching fresh air. It was like an earthquake. it went on and on till another point and then the silence came Cluxton for the win, the final ball, i seen the clock – 72.05. There’s one man standing on the shoulders of his brother his arms wide and welcome he seems very still and quiet, I manage in the crazy mill to focus the camera on his shirt and I know it says “The city that conquered and Empire” its my shot that sums all this madness up. in a silence on the way home I remember a dent on the handle of that cup, I wonder is it still there, still shining, still lovely.
As they leave the stadium they sign their champion song
A recent visit from a great friend of ours Lisa Cleary Thurlow was interesting because of a one off the cuff remark about her previous experiences with spirits, specifically spirits in her home, so I’m not sure about all this afterlife thing, I as a child read at mass quite a bit before waking up one day and thinking things through, my dad wasn’t so pleased with the big change, especially the big change in all those velvet lain baskets. It turned out i have little time for religion based on faith and results in a power struggle which eventually creates conflict, which isn’t exactly Christian.
The idea of individuals somewhere in ether helping our souls find a place seems lost on me when you replace the word ‘place’ with ‘Tsunami’ – coincidently no divine intervention at these times, no Christianity in a president ignoring a predominantly black ward and it’s washed away remains.
But like everyone else I’ve stared at my phone sometimes and the person you think of rings! I had also heard a while back or maybe I read it somewhere that dogs can sense stuff we don’t! Well I suppose they can’t sing or speak so this surely makes up for it having the visions they do, I’m sure Cesar Milan would agree.
Lisa and her comment which was basically “yeah that’s probably my grandmother” came when we had Harry over to stay for a few days, he started rumbling and barking at Lisas handbag on the couch and she was immediate and explained that she believes her passed grandmother minds her bag for her and Harry is probably barking at herself.
Later in the evening as we tried to sleep he came into our bed room eventually after refusing for a good while and took his time to settle down but after a while started grumbling and barking at the corner of our room, barking at where the bookshelf is, like staring into space, very strange.
I think he seen something
I keep waking seeing things myself, rubbing the black sleep out of my eyes and quickly realising it’s a shadow cast by the door, the moving hissing traffic outside on the street or those others upstairs traipsing across wooden floors in wooden heels. Fright, shifting sleep and murmur nightmare, the dog Harry was right!
The wonderful world of Chinese phone covers, I was nearly tempted but I’d get a hidin’ from the blokes at the street corner or at the five-a-side in fairview. “did you get your nails done aswell Kelly?”
Only recently after a couple of days in London I’m back in the airport out to home and doing what everyone does in any busy airport and that’s wait till the tannoy goes off. annoyingly I drift watching the people line up like baby lambs, I’m tired and distracted, I have to shake myself out of it and notice everyone queueing for an Aer Lingus flight that had designated seating, very strange.
Unlike say a Ryanair flight that you can pay extra to get on first, first come first served. Dogs and days. There’s a sense if you’re not in with your extra money you cannot win. Rubbish, so back to our current situation, It’s not like there’s no seats for people to rest on or that you’ll get on early because your at the front of the pushing people, it doesn’t matter either way unless you have a baby or the number of the seat that you picked yourself at check in or online.
Surely thats democratic, surely thats sensible, but I don’t know about anyone else around me I think the fact is that mean greedy airlines like Ryanair have taught us to be obedient and line up quietly for substandard overpriced and over subsidised flights, nevermind the random selection of undersized oversized carry on and the depressing fact that we want these services rageful as they are, their ways sadly drift over to our national airlines, it has changed the way transport is and their operation, it doesn’t matter how different they might think they are things like this fall into sad patterns because of the continous influence by the masses ideal.
Saturday nights wouldn’t be the same without Paddy & Janet. They visit regularly on their pub crawling through Wexford street and one of their local haunts is SOLAS, they sit on their own most of the time happy in themselves among a younger set that drifts into the city and pays no heed to them, those that do whisper to themselves that they look a little strange here, out of place, but I know otherwise, I see them mill around, shuffle to the soul and reggae numbers I squeeze into the long sets and I think their story goes beyond all of these kids. They’ve seen the world change a few times and maybe on their travels originally to the Carribbean and the British isles, maybe Paddy met Janet when he was on the boats! A lone sailor- A true love story. Some day soon I’ll ask them and try get more of the lowdown, in the meantime they add colour to the endless plethora of eighties girls and moronic rugby boys.
They help us through the night, if they like it then maybe it has substance.
Tucked away at the back of a paper shop on Camden street in Dublin called Daintree is the Cake Cafe. Some know it well, some have yet to find out about it’s extra-ordinary bike shed. Being a bike shed fanatic (yeah I know) It’s my favourite bike shed. Nevermind the excellent teas and things on offer for your hairy belly- the inside of the shed has tables inbetween the locked bikes it’s also got these panels that have detail collages that go unnoticed, covered in Ivy and crawlers under a bamboo roof – I’ve been meaning to record them for ages, here have a look and go in when it’s sunny and get the soup! It’s a little oasis of plenty quiet and calm. Somewhere nice to lock your lovely bike.
I know we’re still in a recession but is this not a little crazy? Yeah Yeah he’s got Irish roots but Tea Brack!! Starving It was nice with a tea and it was the only thing left on the shelf in the shop, he saved my day!